Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-78dcdb465f-bcmtx Total loading time: 3.19 Render date: 2021-04-18T03:56:50.692Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

In vitro techniques as tools to predict nutrient supply in ruminants

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 February 2018

S. Tamminga
Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences, Animal Nutrition Group, Marijkeweg 40, 6709 PG Wageningen, The Netherlands
B. A. Williams
Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences, Animal Nutrition Group, Marijkeweg 40, 6709 PG Wageningen, The Netherlands
Get access


In vitro techniques are widely used to predict the nutritive value of foods for farm animals. However, food evaluation systems are moving towards systems based on nutrient flows rather than on energy or protein. Nutrients are supplied via the digestive tract and presently available in vitro methods are inadequate to simulate the complicated and non-steady-state processes in this tract. This is partly due the lack of adequate in vivo reference values and partly due to a too-high degree of standardization and simplification. Future developments should therefore aim to develop in vitro systems which closely monitor the dynamics of the digestive processes. Adequate interpretation of the results may require sophisticated mathematical models.

Overview of the in vitro technique
Copyright © British Society of Animal Science 1998

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.


Agricultural and Food Research Council. 1992. Technical Committee on Responses to Nutrients. Report no. 9. Nutritive requirements of ruminant animals: protein. Nutrition Abstracts and Reviews 62: 787835.Google Scholar
Antoniewicz, A. M., Vuuren, A. M. van, , Koelen, C. J. van der, and Kosmala, I. 1992. Intestinal digestibility of rumen undegraded protein of formaldehyde-treated feedstuffs measured by mobile bag and in vitro technique. Animal Feed Science and Technology 39:111124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Aufrère, J., Graviou, D., Demarquilly, C, Vérité, R., Michalet-Doreau, B. and Chapoutot, R. 1991. Predicting in situ degradability of feed proteins in the rumen by two laboratory methods (solubility and enzymatic degradation). Animal Feed Science and Technology 33:97116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Beuvink, J. M. W. and Kogut, J. 1993.Modelling gas production kinetics of grass silages incubated with buffered ruminal fluid, journal of Animal Science 71:10411046.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Beuvink, J. M. W., Spoelstra, S. F. and Hogendorp, R. J. 1992. An automated method for measuring the time course of gas production of feedstuffs incubated with buffered rumen fluid. Netherlands journal of Agricultural Science 40: 401407.Google Scholar
Boever, L. de, , Cottyn, B. G., Buysse, F. X., Wainman, F. W. and Vanacker, J. M. 1986. The use of an enzymatic technique to predict digestibility, metabolizable and net energy of compound feedstuffs for ruminants. Animal Feed Science and Technology 14:203214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boisen, S. and Eggum, B. O. 1991. Critical evaluation of in vitro methods for estimating digestibility in simple-stomach animals. Nutrition Research Reviews 4: 141162.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Broderick, G. A. and Merchen, N. R. 1992. Markers for quantifying microbial protein synthesis in the rumen. Journal of Dairy Science 75:26182632.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Broderick, G. A., Wallace, R. J. and Ørskov, E. R. 1992. Control of rate and extent of protein degradation. In Physiological aspects of digestion and metabolism in ruminants (ed. T., Tsuda, Y., Sasaki and R., Kawashimz), pp. 541592. Academic Press Inc., San Diego.Google Scholar
Bruchem, J. van, , Bongers, L. J. G. M., Walsum, J. D. van, , Onck, W. and Adrichem, P. W. M. van, . 1985. Digestion of proteins of varying degradability in sheep. 3. Apparent and true digestibility in the small intestine and ileal endogenous flow of N and amino acids. Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science 33:285295.Google Scholar
Chen, G., Sniffen, C. J. and Russell, J. B. 1987. Concentration and estimated flow of peptides from the rumen of dairy cattle: effects of protein quantity, protein solubility and feeding frequency. Journal of Dairy Science 70: 12111219.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Clark, J. H., Klusmeyer, T. H. and Merchen, M. R. 1992. Microbial protein synthesis and flows of nitrogen fractions to the duodenum of dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 75: 23042323.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cone, J. W. 1991. Degradation of starch in feed concentrates by enzymes, rumen fluid and rumen enzymes. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 54:2334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cone, J. W. 1996. Influence of rumen fluid and substrate concentration on fermentation kinetics measured with a fully automated time related gas production apparatus. Animal Feed Science and Technology 61:113128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Czerkawski, J. W. 1986. An introduction to rumen studies. Pergamon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
Dado, R. G. and Allen, M. S. 1995. Intake limitations, feeding behaviour and rumen function of cows challenged with rumen fill from dietary fiber or inert bulk. Journal of Dairy Science 78:118133.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dijkstra, J., Boer, H., Bruchem, J. van, , Bruining, M. and Tamminga, S. 1993. Absorption of volatile fatty acids from the rumen of lactating dairy cows as influenced by volatile fatty acid concentration, pH and rumen liquid volume. British Journal of Nutrition 69:385396.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Forbes, J. M. 1994. Voluntary feed intake and diet selection in farm animals. CAB International, Wallingford, UK.Google Scholar
Forbes, J. M. 1995. Physical limitations of feed intake in ruminants and its interactions with other factors affecting intake. In Ruminant physiology: digestion, metabolism, growth and reproduction(ed. W. v., Engelhardt, Leonhard-Marek, S., Breves, G. and Giesecke, D.), pp. 217232. Ferdinand Enke Verlag, Stuttgart.Google Scholar
France, J., Dhanoa, M. S., Theodorou, M. K., Lister, S. J., Davies, D. R. and Isaac, D. 1993. A model to interpret gas accumulation profiles associated with in vitro degradation of ruminant feeds. Journal of Theoretical Biology 163:99111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
France, J. and Siddons, R. C. 1993. Volatile fatty acid production. In Quantitative aspects of ruminant digestion and metabolism(ed.Forbes, J. M. and France, J.), pp. 107122. CAB International.Google Scholar
Groot, J. C. J., Cone, J. W., Williams, B. A. and Debersaques, F. 1996. Multiphasic analysis of gas production kinetics on in vitro ruminal fermentation. Animal Feed Science and Technology 64:7789.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Groot, J. C. J., Williams, B. A., Oostdam, A. J., Boer, H. and Tamminga, S. 1998. The use of cumulative gas and volatile fatty acid production to predict in vitro fermentation kinetics of Italian ryegrass leaf cell walls and content at various time intervals. British Journal of Nutrition 79: 519525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harmon, D. L. 1992. Dietary influences on carbohydrases and small intestinal starch hydrolysis capacity in ruminants. Journal of Nutrition 122:203210.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Harmon, D. L. 1993. Nutritional regulation of postruminal digestive enzymes in ruminants. Journal of Dairy Science 76: 21022111.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hvelplund, T. 1991. Volatile fatty acids and protein production in the rumen. In Rumen microbial metabolism and ruminant digestion, pp.165178. INRA, Paris.Google Scholar
Illg, D. J. and Stern, M. D. 1994. In vitro and in vivo comparisons of diaminopimelic acid and purines for estimating protein synthesis in the rumen. Animal Feed Science and Technology 48:4955.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ketelaars, J. J. M. H. and Tolkamp, B. J. 1991. Toward a new theory of feed intake regulation in ruminants. Ph.D. thesis, Wageningen Agricultural University.Google Scholar
Kosmala, I., Antoniewicz, A., Boever, J. de, , Hvelplund, T. and Kowalczyk, J. 1996. Use of enzymatic solubility with ficin (EC to predict in situ feed protein degradability. Animal Feed Science and Technology 59: 245 254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lindsay, D. B. 1993. Metabolism of the portal drained viscera. In Quantitative aspects of ruminant digestion and metabolism(ed. Forbes, J. M. and France, J.), pp. 267290. CAB International, Wallingford, UK.Google Scholar
Menke, K. H., Raab, L., Salewski, A., Steingass, H., Fritz, D. and Schneider, W. 1979. The estimation of the digestibility and metabolizable energy content of ruminant feedstuffs from the gas production when they are incubated with rumen liquor. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 93:217222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Menke, K. H. and Steingass, H. 1988. Estimation of the energetic feed value obtained from chemical analysis and in vitro gas production using rumen fluid. Animal Research and Development 28:755.Google Scholar
Murphy, M. R., Baldwin, R. L. and Koong, L. J. 1982. Estimation of stoichiometric parameters for rumen fermentation of roughage and concentrate diets. Journal of Animal Science 55:411421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Neal, H. D. St C., Dijkstra, J. and Gill, M. 1992. Simulation of nutrient digestion, absorption and outflow in the rumen: model evaluation. Journal of Nutrition 122:22572272.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Nocek, J. E. and Tamminga, S. 1991. Site of digestion of starch in the gastrointestinal tract of dairy cows and its effect on milk yield and composition. Journal of Dairy Science 74:35983629.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
O'Connor, J. D., Robinson, P. H., Sniffen, C. J. and Allen, M. S. 1984. A gastro-intestinal tract simulation model of digesta flow in ruminants. In Techniques in particle size analysis of feed and digesta in ruminants(ed. P. M. Kennedy), pp. 102122. Canadian Society of Animal Production, occasional publication no.1.Google Scholar
Ørskov, E. R., Macleod, N. A. and Kyle, D. J. 1986. Flow of nitrogen from the rumen and abomasum in cattle and sheep given protein-free nutrients by intragastric infusion. British Journal of Nutrition 56:241248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Owens, F. N. and Goetsch, A. L. 1986. Digesta passage and microbial protein synthesis. In Control of digestion and metabolism in ruminants (ed. Milligan, L. P., Grovum, W. L. and Dobson, A.), pp.196223. Prentice Hall, New York.Google Scholar
Pell, A. N. and Schofield, P. J. 1993. Computerized monitoring of gas production to measure forage digestion in vitro . Journal of Dairy Science 76:10631073.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Poos-Floyd, M., Klopfenstein, T. and Britton, R. A. 1985. Evaluation of laboratory techniques for predicting ruminal protein degradation. Journal of Dairy Science 68:829839.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roe, M. B., Chase, L. A. and Sniffen, C. J. 1991. Comparison of in vitro techniques to the in situ technique for estimation of ruminal degradation of protein. Journal of Dairy Science 74:16321640.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rulquin, H., Pisulewski, P. M., Vérité, R. and Guinard, J. 1993. Milk production and composition as a function of postruminal lysine and methionine supply: a nutrient response approach. Livestock Production Science 37:6990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Russell, J. B., O'Connor, J. D., Fox, D. G., Van Soest, P. J. and Sniffen, C. J. 1992. A net carbohydrate and protein system for evaluating cattle diets. I. Ruminal fermentation. Journal of Animal Science 70:35513561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sauvant, D., Chapoutot, P. and 1994. La digestion des amidons par les ruminants et ses consequences. INRA Production Animates 7/2:115124.Google Scholar
Schofield, P., Pitt, R. E. and Pell, A. N. 1994. Kinetics of fibre digestion from in vitro gas production. Journal of Animal Science 72: 29802991.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Storm, E. and Ørskov, E. R. 1983. The nutritive value of rumen micro-organisms in ruminants. 1. Large scale isolation and chemical composition of rumen microorganisms. British Journal of Nutrition 50:463470.Google Scholar
Straalen, W. M. van, , Odinga, J. J. and Mostert, W. 1997. Digestion of feed amino acids in the rumen and small intestine of dairy cows measured with nylon-bag techniques. British Journal of Nutrition 77: 8397.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Straalen, W. M. van, . 1995. Modelling of nitrogen flow and excretion in dairy cows. Ph.D. thesis, Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
Sutton, J. D. 1985. Digestion and absorption of energy substrates in the lactating cow. Journal of Dairy Science 68: 33763393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tamminga, S. 1993. Influence of feeding management on ruminant fiber digestibility. In Forage cell wall structure and digestibility(ed. Jung, H.-J. G., Buxton, R. D., Hatfield, R. D. and Ralph, J.), pp. 571602. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI.Google Scholar
Tamminga, S., Robinson, P. H., Meijs, S. and Boer, H. 1989a. Feed components as internal markers in digestion studies with dairy cows. Animal Feed Science and Technology 27: 4957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tamminga, S., Robinson, P. H., Vogt, M. and Boer, H. 1989b. Rumen ingesta kinetics of cell wall components and nitrogen in dairy cows. Animal Feed Science and Technology 25: 8998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tamminga, S., Straalen, M. W. van, , Subnel, A. P. J., Meijer, R. G. M., Steg, A., Wever, C. J. G. and Blok, M. C. 1994. The Dutch protein evaluation system; the DVE/OEBsystem. Livestock Production Science 40:139155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Theodorou, M. K., Williams, B. A., Dhanoa, M. S., McAllan, A. B. and France, J. 1994. A simple gas production method using a pressure transducer to determine the fermentation kinetics of ruminant feeds. Animal Feed Science and Technology 48:185197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tilley, J. M. A. and Terry, R. A. 1963. A two-stage technique for the in vitro digestion of forage crops. Journal of the British Grassland Society 18:104111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Van Soest, P. J. 1994. Nutritional ecology of the ruminant. Cornell University Press, Ithaca.Google Scholar
Vuuren, A. M. van, . 1993. Digestion and nitrogen metabolism of grass fed dairy cows. Ph.D. thesis, Wageningen Agricultural University.Google Scholar
Williams, B. A., Bhatia, S. K., Boer, H. and Tamminga, S. 1995. A preliminary study using the cumulative gas production technique to compare the kinetics of different fermentations by use of standard substrates. Annates de Zootechnie 44: (supplement): 35.Google Scholar
Williams, B. A., Boer, H., Diekema, B. and Tamminga, S. 1994, A progressive carbon balance for the in vitro fermentation of wheat straw, using the gas production technique. Proceedings of the Society of Nutritional Physiology 3:184.Google Scholar

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 13 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 27th February 2018 - 18th April 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

In vitro techniques as tools to predict nutrient supply in ruminants
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

In vitro techniques as tools to predict nutrient supply in ruminants
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

In vitro techniques as tools to predict nutrient supply in ruminants
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *